DC has already revealed that Nightwing will be injured this fall, but it’s looking like the resulting physical changes will be more lasting than fans expect — and might influence the way the hero fights crime in the near future.
Nightwing, whose title by Benjamin Percy and Christopher Mooneyham will start shipping twice-monthly in September, will be injured within the pages of September’s Batman #55 and October’s Batman #56.
According to promotional copy for the issues by Tom King and Tony S. Daniel, Dick Grayson gets caught “in the fray” during KGBeast’s rampage in Gotham City and sustains an injury so bad that Batman blames himself for Dick’s “fate.”
The same week Batman #56 is released, Nightwing #50 appears to pick up with the aftermath of Nightwing’s injury because the issue’s solicitation says the hero will deal with a “blow he did not see coming.”
What’s the injury?
Whatever happens to Nightwing, it’s leading to a “new direction in Nightwing’s crimefighting career,” according to solicitations.
The oversized issue #50 will kick off a new storyline that features the Scarecrow, but the fears and doubt mentioned in promotional copy for issues #51 and #52 appear to be more related to the hero’s injury than its villain.
Nightwing #51 will have Dick struggling to “overcome his own sudden struggles with heights and vertigo.”
“He has lost his primary skill set as a hero,” the solicitation says, “and will have to focus on his brilliance as a detective instead.”
Maybe a head injury? Or at least something that doesn’t allow Dick Grayson to utilize his acrobatic abilities? Head injuries, particularly those involving athletes of contact sports like football are particularly on the public conscious right now, and much in the same way Tom King is dealing with the issue of PTSD in Heroes in Crisis, it sounds possible Percy may be attempt to tackle another public health issue in Nightwing.
Whatever the physical disability Nightwing suffers in September and October, it won’t be short-lived. In November’s Nightwing #52 and #53, the hero will be further “haunted” by the “devastating injury” he sustained in Batman #55.
It sounds like Nightwing will not be fighting crime the same way anymore.
Issue #51 also mentions that Dick is involved in a “distracting love triangle.” Although the copy doesn’t name the women in Dick’s life, Nightwing writer Percy brought Batgirl/Barbara Gordon back into the hero’s life in recent issues.
When Newsarama talked to Percy in July, he said Batgirl would continue to be part of Nightwing’s life.
“I’ll be very coy here,” Percy said, “but Batgirl is going to play a very important role in my run.”
In an even earlier interview with Newsarama, Percy said of Barbara, “She'll continue to show up throughout my time writing the [Nightwing] series, not just in a supporting role either. I want to treat their relationship with the kind of symbiotic quality that I brought to Green Arrow in his relationship with Black Canary.”
With Dick Grayson injured and forced to fight crime without his usual abilities, might Barbara be the perfect partner, since she also recently had to deal with a disability, changing the way she fought crime by donning the Oracle identity?
The solicitation for November’s issues of Nightwing say Dick will continue to “struggle physically and emotionally.” Perhaps Barbara is the ideal balm for his emotional pain.
With Scarecrow serving as the villain and Barbara being a potential love interest, it’s possible Nightwing is also be switching locations, at least temporarily.
The hero has been working in Bludhaven recently, but next week’s Nightwing Annual #1 says the story will take him to Gotham City. In September, just when the series begins shipping twice-monthly, the story will take place on an island with a trippy motorcycle race.
But by the time the injury in Batman #55 occurs, Nightwing is obviously back in Gotham City.
He might be staying for awhile. Unless Scarecrow and Barbara are both visiting Bludhaven (which is entirely possible…), it’s possible that Dick Grayson’s attempting to heal from his injury within Gotham City.
Where does the injury lead the Nightwing title? Percy has promised significant plans for the hero’s future. “I'm setting the stage right now for something much bigger,” he told Newsarama in May. “The story begins in Bludhaven, but it gets bigger and bigger and bigger.”